1. Discover / Research Center

The main purpose, for now, is to discover a need or a desirability that a (bunch of) users would want — what are their greatest projects and what are the pain points that they overcome in their way.

Confirming the Market

Before digging into even more research, you need to confirm that the potential user-base is big enough to worth develop a theme for it. You can do that using different methods:

  • Catching up with the competition: are there any big players in the market that are doing well with a similar theme? We can do it better.
  • Forecasting: are there any long-term trends following in the near future? (eg. food bloggers) Use a tool such Google Trends to find out possible niches and their interest size.
  • Missing opportunities: over 80% local business owners do not have a website (eg. restaurants, cafes)

Gather Data

This is where we are looking for as much data as possible. Start to collect information that you will later find useful:

  1. Case Studies: in-depth studies for similar websites
  2. Surveys (ask some clients): It is very important to be user-centric every step of the way.
  3. Competitors: spying upon competitors themes can give you some insights about the main KBG. Be careful that there are not many themes doing the right thing – most of them are generic and don’t pay attention to any goals.
  4. Key Business Goals: try to roughly define a few goals that this potential theme could deliver
  5. Articles: read relevant articles that explain how things are working in that specific area.
  6. Copy: try to mix and match different parts of headlines and articles that could be used later in the design mockups.

Interpret & Define

  1. Key Business Goals: try to roughly define a few goals that this potential theme could deliver. This will always guide you in making further design decisions.
  2. User Stories
  3. User Types and Persona: sketch in a short paragraph few personas that you can refer later on. They should have slightly different set of values, motivations, and dreams.
  4. Features: list in a two-columns table potential features that would help this theme getting closer to the desired audience and explain the reasons behind.
  5. Sitemap: Now it’s the moment when you map out the sitemap for the project. It’s important to lay out most of the pages and the relations between them, so you can use it as a plan for the design phase.

Visual Resources

Get visual inspiration to be used later on:

  1. Branding: As you need to imagine a possible client, it’s probably smarter to just find a real branding + case study that you think the theme and most of our potential clients could resonate with. Note that it’s important to capture the overall feeling, story, values – not necessary the visual characteristics.
  2. Photos: collage mood boards
  3. Fonts: print, magazines, posters
  4. Animations: movies, games, applications